Invest Your Talent or You Will Have it Taken Away
I stumbled across a Bible text from the gospel of Luke today that truly made me stop in my tracks. The text is Luke 19:12-27 (NIV). It goes like this:
12He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a]'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'
14"But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.'
15"He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
16"The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.'
17" 'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'
18"The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.'
19"His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.'
20"Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.'
22"His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?'
24"Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.'
25" 'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!'
26"He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me."
Several things can be drawn from this text, and one in particular that I can see is that this parable is an illustration of Jesus's departure to the Earth to minister to the disciples, his death, burial, and resurrection, his ascension to the Father after the resurrection, the period in-between, and then His return. We are in-between at the moment, and I think that the minas are representative of the measure of grace that God has given us to exercise our gifts and talents. The question that then came to my mind is: "Which servant am I?" I don't want to get to the end of my life to realize that I was that wicked servant who hid God's grace from the world and horded it all to myself. If that is true, then this world is the only good that I will see. I think that it is good to question our motives, and should be asked by everyone who takes the revelation of God seriously. There are false brethren, and one of the traits of that is the desire for self-glorification and praise. One who is a true-believer will invest God's gifts on others and the surrounding community and therefore display the salvation that he or she so eagerly professes. There is a great deal of grace that I have horded and kept back over the years, and I do wonder at times, and I think that I should. I am fearful and tremble at times because of my uncertainty of my eternal condition. I am most fearful when I have been extremely selfish and have not given much. I don't believe that the work is what saves me, but rather it is the evidence of what exists inside, and when I do not exhibit the characteristics of a believer (Mark 12:41-44; Acts 4:32-37), I have to ask myself: "Do I believe?" You should to!